Each Memorial Day Weekend, as the aspen trees are starting to unfurl their chartreuse leaves and the creeks are gushing with snowmelt, Telluride comes to life from its off-season slumber with Mountainfilm Festival.
At its bones, Mountainfilm is a documentary film festival. But in reality, it’s much more: a celebration of ideas that goes beyond the film medium with incredible art exhibits, a full-day symposium, rich conversations, a book fair and unforgettable presentations.
We celebrate indomitable spirit – be it the passion that makes Louie Psihoyos risk his freedom to document illegal wildlife trafficking, the obsession that drives Tommy Caldwell to climb the Dawn Wall or the resilience that brings Kevin Pearce back to snowboarding after a devastating crash. It’s these stories and remarkable individuals who don’t just entertain, but inspire our audiences, our guests and ourselves to live better for our world.
Today, I’m the program director at Mountainfilm, but (in case you can’t tell) I’ve been a fan of the festival for far longer than I’ve been an employee. What I always say about Mountainfilm is this: It’s my favorite week of the year in my favorite place on the planet with the most inspiring people in the universe.
As luck would have it, festival staff realized more than a decade ago that when it comes to Mountainfilm, once a year just won’t do.
Mountainfilm on Tour was born, and it’s flourished. Today, the tour takes a selection of our best-loved festival shorts and features to places that range from Squamish, British Columbia, to Sandy, Utah, Savannah, Georgia, and the American Embassy in Singapore. Nonprofit organizations, colleges, companies and environmental alliances host the shows and use them as fundraising events or community movie nights. It’s a win-win.
An educational component has sprung from the tour as well, which means we get to bring our films to tens of thousands of children – who we consider to be our most important target for a good dose of inspiration.
Which is why I’m psyched to bring Mountainfilm on Tour to one of my other favorite southwestern towns – Durango – on Saturday.
The tour show has become a bit of a tradition for host Durango Nature Studies – this will be its sixth annual. We’re happy about this, because the DNS is just the kind of nonprofit we like to partner with; the organization is all about the scrappy, outdoor-loving, dirt-on-the-knees, adventure-seeking education that gets kids into environmental advocacy and wonder from a young age.
Katie Klingsporn is a founding editor of DGO and program director at Mountainfilm. [email protected]